Frequently, homestays are international students looking to study in your area and are in need of hosting in a stable, friendly environment where they feel safe and can study in quiet. A family with other children is often a good fit for homestay students, and that is usually where they stay, with a family or a mature couple with extra space.
Depending on the age and what type of schooling or business the homestay student is taking, they may wish to stay for several months, or in some cases for several years.
As a potential homestay host, there are several things you should consider before committing to have a student living in your home. The homestay may be young and naive but the host can be naive as well and may find the inherent costs in hosting don’t always allow for the amount of additional income that they had planned on.
Facing the Challenges
Be sure that you have a good line of communication. As the student in most cases will not understand English well, it can be quite a struggle to get though to them on certain issues. It is beneficial to break your sentences into simple fragments and avoid complex words. Often during the first week it is a good idea to communicate via written words as most ESL students are proficient at writing and reading but often find it difficult to string a sentence verbally.
Hosts and students should have some protection from understood guidelines set out in this situation. Set some rules in place during the interview process with the student and/or their guardian, so that everyone is on the same page. Rules should be explained by an interpreter if the language barriers are more severe.
Consequenses for breaking the rules should also be set in place. If the student comes home high on drugs for instance, is there zero tolerance for this? If the agreed rules are broken, and it was previously discussed by the homestay and if needed, the guardian, then if the stipulations are not followed, asking them to leave will be much less difficult.
Do you Value Privacy?
Privacy is obviously going to be compromised somewhat when a homestay is living in your house. The student may want to practice their English skills with you, and you need to be prepared for this. If you want to have a party or other guests over, you now need to take the student into consideration when planning social gatherings at the home. When you include the homestay in some of these social situations, they often have less of a problem with it.
When you would like to leave town for a few days on a vacation, there are issues to consider. Students often pay for meals as well as board, so you may have committed to being there daily to prepare meals for them, and interact at the dinner table. Taking the homestay on your vacation could be an option, but there could be other solutions.
These are not the only concerns in this situation. The time you spend conversing with, and cooking and cleaning for the student could cut into the time you have for your own family and children. Your homestay could be included in your regular family activity, this way, your time will me more wisely spent.